Readers are mixed.
Usually I enjoy reading your columns. Not this one. Whenever you get into discussions of pragmatism and other early 20th century movements, I find myself wishing you had “chosen the sandwich.” The sandwich is the pragmatic choice in your case and the only thing about pragmatism that is likely to stick from this column.
Dear Mr. Goldberg:
Damn! That was a terrific piece. I read and much enjoyed Menand’s book as well, and bored people to death trying to make the same point you make so deftly in that ‘review.’ I suppose it is a testament to his honesty that one can find the targets for scathing critique of the Pragmatists, even as he gushes on about their brilliance. This is probably better reserved for a beer sometime (or another column when you finish that sandwich), but I came away from the book thinking that, far from being the ‘practical’ applier of Pragmatic principles, Dewey in fact betrayed them entirely. Why don’t you take a crack at that?
At this stage of your philosophical career, you probably spout Disraeli without even realizing it, so let me compliment you for almost exactly reconstituting the essence of “Why Conserve?”
Sad to say, once upon a time there were political figures who could handle that level of profundity AND practice practical politics at the same time (without Ted Sorensen to dress it up.) Any ambitions? Best regards and Thanks! John Cooper-Mullin
PS: If you keep up this level of analysis, I may even reinstate my Miers-motivated cancelled subscription….